Overland Park becomes latest Kansas city to ban LGBT discrimination

OVERLAND PARK — The second-largest city in Kansas has passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The city council in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park voted 10-1 Monday to protect residents and employees from being denied housing, employment or services from businesses, reported KCUR.

Backers of the proposal took the Overland Park action as a landmark development. Overland Park has a population of around 190,000, falling second in population only to Wichita, which has around 390,000 residents.

“It’s fantastic,” said Brett Hoedl, chair of the Equality Kansas of Metro Kansas City. “We assumed it was going to go this way, but I get jittery every time we go into one of these meetings.”

He said it could create pressure for adoption of a statewide law. Nearly two dozen states outlaw discrimination against someone because they are LGBTQ. Missouri and Kansas aren’t among them.

Council Member Dave White voted for the ordinance, but said he wanted more teeth in the legislation. The ordinance allows fines of up to $1,000.

“We’re saying, ‘Yes, it’s illegal but we can only fine them,'” White said. “We can’t do anything more than that and none of the money goes to the person who suffered the discrimination.”

Other cities to pass non-discrimination ordinances include Kansas City, Kansas; as well as Lawrence, Manhattan, Merriam, Roeland Park and Prairie Village.

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